What does it mean to unleash your potential
“You’ve got a lot of potential”
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this sentence at least once. For many, this sentence is a motivation booster: “(They think) I did well and can do even better, I could achieve even more”. For others, hearing this sentence can have the opposite effect: “what I did so far was not good enough (for them)”. What if there was more than just a positive or negative interpretation of “having potential”?
You can discover and unleash your potential, if you are willing to do the work
Looking at the core meaning of the word, many dictionaries agree in defining potential as a “possibility of something developing” or “something that can develop and become actual”. These definitions underlie the fact that action is needed for this “something” to happen. It doesn’t happen automatically.
I often state that I believe everyone has the potential to achieve great things. In this context, I could refine it by saying that you, your team, your manager, your board of directors – everybody has the possibility to achieve great things if they are willing to do the work.
Some people already know their direction or have a goal they want to achieve. For others, the goal is set (sometimes by an external “source”) but they find it difficult to move forward or to see progress, sometimes even after having put in all the hard work. They can see the distance between where they are now and the place where their potential is fully unleashed, or their goal is achieved. There is some interference on the way that prevents success. It feels like a chain reaction that cannot start or go forward.
Initiate a chain reaction
There’s some sort of negative aura around the idea of “chain reaction”. Think about a series of interconnected events, like a behavior triggering a reaction, triggering another behavior. The first thing that might come up to your mind is that you cannot predict how this will all play out and you are not in control. Perhaps it’s for the best to just “stop it” or not start it at all.
Let’s take a step back and look at something more concrete like domino tiles. Think about the movement that initiates the chain reaction and the kinetic energy that is unleashed. All you need is a small push to the first domino and – if the distance between the tiles is right – the others will start falling one after the other. You might have also seen the amplification effect when a domino tile can knock over a tile that is bigger. A domino tile has potential energy that is unleashed when it is pushed over.
Now, I’d like you to picture these domino tiles as the challenges in your life, or the steps towards the goals you’d like to achieve. When you become aware of your potential – the kinetic energy – to overcome the challenges and achieve your goals, all you need to do is to make sure the order and the distance between the tiles are right for the chain reaction to be started. Sometimes, you also need to realize if some tile is missing.
A coach can help you in this thinking process.
When you’ll work with me as your coach, we will probably also get to use domino tiles. I find it a good way to add concreteness to the topics we work on.
There’s an exercise I like to do when working with people on skills or goals development process and, specifically, when helping you assess where you are now and the level you’d like to reach in the near future. What I’ll do is to ask you to choose a domino tile that best represents the “distance”. Let’s say you choose a tile with 2 and 7. As you define your starting point being 2, what would you consider to be the 7? And what would it look like when you have reached the level you desire? How about 4, what could you do in a month to feel you have reached level 4?
Believe me, this is more than a game of numbers. The possibility to succeed, to discover and utilize our inner potential, is there for everyone. Achieving your goals is possible when you become aware of your existing abilities and identify what’s missing.
There is untapped potential in each of us
We live in a world where the level of our performance and what we can concretely achieve often determine our success. Sometimes, despite our best effort, it seems we are not able to perform at our peak level.
In one of his first books, Timothy Gallwey brings up an interesting equation: (P) performance = (p) potential – (i) interference (from The inner game of tennis, 1974). His idea is that there is untapped potential in everyone and, by reducing or removing the interference (obstacles and beliefs that, most of the time, are in our own mind), we can achieve top performance.
Working with a coach, you will become aware of both your potential and the interference that is hindering your performance. I know it is sometimes difficult to ask for help because you want to succeed on your own. The thing is that, as your coach, I’m not going to do the work for you. You will be still responsible to get the job done and achieve your goals. I’ll just help you realize a good path to follow.
I feel that being able to give to others – particularly in these challenging times. – is the most rewarding thing you can do. Therefore I’m extending by one month my pro bono offer for new clients: 5-session (60 min each) coaching packages completely free of charge! Also offering very competitive rates for business and corporate clients as well.
Get in touch by using the button below or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start the journey to initiate the chain reaction and unleash your potential!